It seems unfair, and at times like downright sabotage, that junk foods are so cheap and nutritious options tend to be more expensive. For instance, that $4 “value” meal from your local fast food place is anything but valuable to your health and the better choice of a salad can cost twice as much. But, eating right doesn’t have to bust your budget. Here are just a few suggestions and tips to help save on healthier foods.
Going out to eat is nice and definitely easier but not always cost effective. So, try to plan and shop for a week’s worth of meals at a time. You’re less likely to dine out or buy expensive convenience foods during the week when the ingredients for dinner are readily available in your kitchen.
- Shop the Outer Edge – The edges of the grocery store tend to have fresh foods with the most nutrients. The inside shelves are usually filled with processed foods. Frozen fruits and vegetables can also be a low-cost substitute for fresh.
- Check the Price Per Pound – Look at the price tag to see if larger is cheaper or to compare brands. The small number in the corner typically tells the price per pound (or price per ounce). This is the best way to compare products, no matter the size.
- Shop on a Full Stomach – when you’re hungry can, it can result in high fat, sugary and/or salty purchases.
- Skip the Bagged Chips – choose to pop your own popcorn instead.
- Shop Farmers Market at the End of the Day – depending on the market, you could score some good deals at the end of the day.
- Check Out Ethnic Markets – not only are you likely to find bargains on certain items, but you could also find some interesting ingredients.
- Brown Rice – Great for: Side dishes, rice salads, fried rice, casseroles, and soups. What’s a serving? 1/4 cup dry rice. Price per serving: 18 cents. A 1-pound bag costs about $1.75 and contains 10 servings. Nutrition info per serving: 170 calories, 2 grams fiber, and 4 grams protein.
- Nonfat Greek Yogurt – Great for: Smoothies, a quick snack, and parfaits. What’s a serving? 6- or 8-ounces. Price per serving: Individual servings (6- to 8-ounce containers) cost about .89 cents each (but always lookout for sales). You can save money by buying a larger container of Greek yogurt and then taking out the suggested portion. Nutrition info per serving (for a 6-ounce serving of honey vanilla): 150 calories, 0 grams fiber, and 14 grams protein
- Fresh Bagged Spinach – Great for: Quick salads, egg dishes, casseroles, soups, and stews. What’s a serving? If you use it for a main-dish salad, about 4 cups, if you sauté it and add to an omelet, or use it for a side salad, about 2 cups. Price per serving: 66 cents for a 4-cup serving; 33 cents for a 2-cup serving. A bag (9 ounces) of washed spinach leaves sells for about $1.99. Nutrition info per serving: 4-cup serving contains 20 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 160% of the Daily Value for vitamin A, 40% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, 8% of the Daily Value for calcium, and 40% of the Daily Value for folic acid.
- Dried Lentils – Great for: Casseroles, salads, soups, stews, and more. Lentils are the most “user-friendly” of the beans because they cook quickly without pre-soaking. Generally, you just cover 1 cup of lentils with 3 cups of water or broth and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. What’s a serving? 1/4 cup dried lentils. Price per serving: 10 cents. On average, you can buy a 16-ounce bag for $1.29. That small bag of lentils is deceiving because the lentils are dried, but once cooked, you will see the value. Nutrition info per serving: 120 calories, 10 grams protein, and 11 grams fiber.
The breakdown is that you can afford to eat healthy if you shop smart, plan ahead and make good choices for your diet. Of course, establishing and maintaining a balanced lifestyle can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why we’re here! Contact us today to make the most of you nutrition and fitness.
Total Nutrition Technology